Bridgend's Jamie Murphy holds off Bristol's Luke Eves
Bridgend Ravens went down to a clinical but ill-disciplined Bristol as the English side ran out 8-32 winners at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.
The visitors clinched a bonus point and remain top of Pool 1 and unbeaten in the British & Irish Cup, thanks to tries from Alafoti Fa'Osiliva, George Watkins and two from pacey winger Matt Williams.
Rhys Ward Jones grabbed the late consolation score for the Ravens at the end of a second half that saw referee Kieran Barry hand out four yellow cards.
Bridgend had the better of the opening possession and territory and showed some enterprising play early on but failed to register anything on the scoreboard. As a result of this and somewhat against the run of play, the visitors got the first try of the game when Fa'Osiliva powered his way over the line after a strong driving lineout. Adrian Jarvis converted for the first of his 12 points of the afternoon and suddenly the Ravens found themselves 0-7 down.
Jamie Murphy slotted over a gift of a penalty minutes later to reduce the gap to four points but Jarvis cancelled out his effort and added another three on the half-hour mark. The Ravens' defence showed some great determination minutes later to survive a powerful Bristol drive and ensure that the gap was a manageable 10 points when the half-time whistle arrived.
The gap was distinctly less manageable just seconds into the second period. Bristol scrum half Tom Slater picked up from the base of a ruck and noticed the space on the blind side, accelerating left and presenting the ball to winger Watkins to touchdown in the corner.
The next 10 minutes saw Bridgend pushing to find a way back into the game and forcing Bristol to concede several penalties. Murphy broke through a gap to send a ripple of anticipation through the stand but his support was limited and the Bristol defence soon reorganised to close down the danger. When the resulting scrum broke down, referee Barry lost his patience with the visitors and went to his pocket to send Gaston Cortes to the bin. It was to be the Argentinian's last contribution to the game, as he failed to re-take the field when his 10 minutes were up.
Being reduced to 14 didn't appear to worry the men in red and white as they scored their third try of the match five minutes later. Speedster Williams looked to have aimed for a gap that didn't exist but the winger somehow shrugged his way through and showed a clean pair of heels to cross the whitewash in the corner.
Bristol hooker Rhys Lawrence and Ravens scrum half Tom Habberfield both felt the wrath of the referee with 20 minutes remaining and the extra space again seemed to benefit the English side. The Bristol scrum had looked extremely powerful all afternoon and after winning another against the head, replacement scrum half James Grindal spotted the space that Williams was in and handed him the ball for the winger to secure the bonus point with an exuberant dive in the corner.
Williams would have been forgiven for taking the last 10 minutes easy but when Ravens' winger Luke Morgan sped through a gap and looked certain to score, it was the Bristol number 11 that sprinted from the other side of the pitch to prevent the try.
As the Bridgend forwards worked hard to keep the pressure up, Jack Tovey became the third Bristol player to receive a yellow card but soon afterwards, Ward Jones showed some great skill to restore some pride to the home dressing room.
Bridgend Ravens (3) 8
Try: R Ward Jones Pen: J Murphy
Bristol Rugby (13) 32
Try: A Fa'Osiliva, G Watkins, M Williams 2 Con: A Jarvis 3 Pen: A Jarvis 2
Bridgend Ravens: B Thomas, L Morgan, N Edwards, S Campbell, A Evans, J Murphy, T Habberfield, K Dowding, A James, J Thomas, S O'Rourke, A Jones, A Waite, J Vaughan (c), S Hicks
Subs: C Francis for S O'Rourke (69), G Carpenter for K Dowding (76), L Davies for A Jones (59), A Ellis for A Waite (68), S Winn, R Ward Jones for T Habberfield (74), C Williams for B Thomas (63)
Bristol Rugby: J Tovey, G Watkins, L Eves, B Mosses, M Williams, A Jarvis, T Slater, K Traynor, R Lawrence, G Cortes, B Glynn, G Townson, I Grieve (c), M Mama, A Fa'Osiliva
Subs: T Channon for J Tovey then R Lawrence (59 then 78), M Lilley for K Traynor (69), W Thompson for A Fa'Osiliva then G Cortes (51 then 59), G Biagi for G Townson (57), M Eadie for M Mama (78), J Grindal for T Slater (61), T Roberts for B Mosses (69)
Sin-bin:Bridgend: T Habberfield (60) Bristol: G Cortes (49), R Lawrence (57), J Tovey (78)
WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie and Alex Bywater have a ringside seat as Tonga prepare for the international clash against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Under duress, the duo speed through this week's Principality Premiership games.
The launch of the Dove Men's International Series in this week's Princiipality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We preview South Africa with Sam Warburton, Rob Howley, George North and Adam Jones. Jonathan Davies and Ken Owens go along to Dyffryn Taf school in Whitland to launch the educational side of Scorch the Dragon. WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis was also there, while we speak to head Robert Newsome and pupils. Russia coach Kingsley Jones looks ahead to facing Japan in Colwyn Bay.
Wales hero Jonathan Davies took time out from Test match preparations to join a unique literacy lesson at his former school, Dyffryn Taf in Whitland, Carmarthenshire. British and Irish Lions and Scarlets centre Davies was joined by his international and Regional team-mate Ken Owens, back in the classroom, to help introduce the Welsh Rugby Union's new mascot Scorch to pupils.
We build up to South Africa, Wales Women's World Cup draw and John Dawes goes back to school in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Sam Warburton, Ken Owens and Rhys Patchell in the Wales squad, Wales Women Rachel Taylor and Jenny Davies, while it was a special day at Lewis Boys when Wales and Lions legend John Dawes returned to his old school.
We hear from Wales coach Warren Gatland looking forward to the Dove Men's Series on this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. New Blues defence coach Dale McIntosh talks about the wrench of leaving Pontypridd,Wales Sevens captain Adam Thomas, plus we hear from Rhymney, Pontllanfraith and Monmouth about their clubs at a NatWest Rugby Force workshop.
It is the launch of the new Wales rugby kit in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Lions Ian Evans and Alex Cuthbert about the new Under Armour kit, while Scarlets pair Rhodri Williams and Emyr Phillips talk Heineken Cup. It is the launch of the NatWest Rugby Force, we hear from NatWest regional manager Wales Mark Douglas, WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis, WRU head of rugby Josh Lewsey and Wales captain Ryan Jones. Wales Sevens pair Chris Knight and Adam Field look back on the Australian leg of the IRB World Series.
We arte down on the street in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We go to Blaenavon to hear about the latest stage of the WRU's street rugby from Wales captain Ryan Jones, former hooker Lloyd Burns, Dragons rugby development manager Greg Woods and the minister for culture and sport, John Griffiths. We also speak to Newport, Neath, Carmarthen Quins and Swansea about their hopes in the Principality Premiership.
A special tribute to Cliff Morgan, one of the all-time greats of Welsh rugby, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We go to his funeral on the Isle of Wight and speak to Barry John, Mary Peters, Clive Rowlands and Roger Lewis about the great man. We also hear from Llandovery, Bridgend, Cardiff and Bedwas about the Principality Premiership, while Wales U20s centre JAck Dixon talks about facing Lions star Jonathan Davies.
In a bumper-length episode, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie and Alex Bywater preview this season's Principality Premiership. Bridgend, Carmarthen Quins and Llanelli all provide special guests in this season's opener.